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Colorado Aquaponics offering farming/fishery classes

For those looking to take their gardening skills to a whole new level there's aquaponics, a method of farming using aquaculture and hydroponics to grow both fish and food.

Sound confusing? It's a little more complicated than throwing seeds in the ground and watering them, but the mixed farming method significantly reduces water use and produces much more food in a small space. That's why Colorado Aquaponics is offering classes this spring to help people understand the benefits and opportunities such systems offer.

Basically, the fish waste in the system provide nutrients for the plants in the system., and the plants absorb the nutrients in the water and filter it for the fish.

The company is offering classes to help people understand and learn how to launch their own system in Denver from April 23-26 and again this fall from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. The Denver-based company, which operates Flourish Farms at The GrowHaus, will also offer classes in California and Florida this year though partner Green Acre Aquaponics, says Flourish Farm Manager, Aquaponics Guru and Training Master Tawnya Sawyer.

"Colorado Aquaponics has offered workshops for home and hobby aquaponic enthusiasts since 2010," Sawyer says. "We have taught the Aquaponic Farming Course in Denver, Florida and California with our business partner, Green Acre Aquaponics, since 2012."

The four-day course costs $1,295, however it falls to $1,195 per person if multiple people from the same group join. In addition to the classes, students receive a detailed course workbook, design plans, and variety of online spreadsheets, log files and related resources, Sawyer adds. "Colorado Aquaponics offers support through consulting services, feasibility studies, site planning, business planning, crop rotations, vendor relationships and the like to help future farmers get up and running successfully," she says. 

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

FullContact raises $10M to continue connecting people

Denver-based startup FullContact just updated its address book-coordinating apps for iOS and Gmail. The progress helped it raise a new $10 million round of funding led by Baird Capital and Foundry Group with support from participation from Blue Note Ventures and 500 Startups. In all, the contact management software company has now raised nearly $20 million.

The FullContact address books apps are designed to coordinate users' contacts across their email accounts, social media platforms as well as their devices. "The genesis of the FullContact address book was on the web, and the web version is still the central hub for working with your FullContact account," says Brad McCarty. "However, FullContact for iOS brings the power of the address book to your iPhone or iPad via a native application."

"We absolutely plan to be on more platforms, and Windows-based systems make sense as an eventual area of expansion for us," McCarty says. Already the company is developing applications for Mac and for Android-based systems.

FullContact launched in 2010, and the current suite of apps launched out of private beta in 201. The company's APIs has been available to developers since 2012.

The company appears to be on the right track with the new products. "Eighteen months ago, FullContact employed 22 people," McCarty says. "Currently there are 53 employees however that number is likely to reach 75 employees in the next 12 months."

The new round of financing will help the company each those goals. As part of the funding Baird's Benedict Rocchio will join FullContact's board. "We're very excited to add Benedict and Baird Capital to the FullContact board and receive the long-term support from a great financial institution," says Bart Lorang, FullContact CEO.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

State of Downtown Denver 2015 has plenty to praise

Last year, downtown Denver saw $1 billion in investments through completed projects. In 2015, that figure is expected to nearly double to $1.9 billion. That's just one key takeaway from the State of Downtown Denver 2015 event, hosted by the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) on March 24.

There was a host of data showing the recent successes of Denver and how the city is poised to keep growing -- for instance, residential population has grown 165 percent since 2010. "In order to ensure future success we need to understand what we did right to get us where we are today," explained DDP CEO Tami Door at the event.

"Last year, we welcomed 16 new companies in downtown. These companies, many of them having significant national and international brands, further endorse downtown Denver as a key business hubs," said Door, noting that many companies attributed their choices to Denver's premiere workforce, its mobility options for employees and the overall cool factor of the city center.

Door added that Denver is attracting significant amounts of Millennials, which is important to the city's future. "As we go forward two Baby Boomers will retire for each new employee entering the workforce," she explained. "This is not just a battle to get companies to move to our cities. this a battle to get the right type of workers here."

"We are quickly becoming recognized as a premier entrepreneurial hub," Door said. "Right now, we have 370 tech startups located in the core of downtown. These companies employ 3,000 individuals. That number is growing and is growing very fast."

Craftsy was one of those startups. Founder and CEO John Levisay explained that the company started in 2010 with four founders. "We're now over 260 employees and have 50 open jobs," he said. "It's been a great ride. When we were starting the company our primary investors told us we'd have to move the company to California, there wasn't enough talent here. We disagreed. We wanted to make this a Colorado company and we were committed to that and we still are."

In his comments Levisay attributed much of Denver's success in launching such companies to Denver's evolution into a commuter-friendly, city with ample access to travel options, among other things. For instance, 60 percent of Craftsy's employees take public transport, bike or walk to work, he said.

"Downtown Denver has done everything right in terms of urban planning, urban infill and residential for young employees," Levisay added. "Cost of commercial real estate and access to it is very reasonable. The engineering talent here is very strong."

Levisay also credited the success to Denver's unique "collective zeitgeist" that encompasses established companies in the region talking with startups. "Ten years from now, we'll be amazed as we get some startups that evolve into escape velocity and really achieve iconic stature."

Read the annual State of Downtown Denver report here.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Smart Cookie's food trikes for dogs hit streets in Denver

Food carts are going to the dogs with Denver's Smart Cookie. The company is bringing its treats to Colorado's dogs with two trikes.

With the approach of spring, farmers' markets and all the fun events that spring brings, Smart Cookie is planning on making sure your best buddy gets the same treatment you do by being at the same events. The company's trikes will be at breweries, parks and events throughout Colorado. Smart Cookie also gives dog owners a chance to customize and order their snacks and delivered to their door.

Smart Cookie's menu of healthy, human-grade ingredients allows it to create a box of treats for every dog. Customers can select a protein, carbohydrate, and fruit and veggie combination for their dog's treats, according to Smart Cookie. "We hand-make everything ourselves," says Smart Cookie Owner Bri Bradley. "We just built a commercial kitchen." She explains that the company even uses some local ingredients in its treats like spent grains from local breweries.

The company also makes Rabbit Jerky, which the company says is a completely hypoallergenic option. It also offers Barking Blends called The Survivor, The Sports Dog and The Prima Dogna.

Smart Cookie launched in 2012, according to Bradley. "We started the cart in April 2013 as a sort of food truck for dogs." Now the company uses the trikes for community events as far south as Parker and as far north as Boulder and Steamboat Springs. You can check out where they'll be on their calendar, but Bradley says you can also find them at parks and other places throughout the spring and into the fall. "It kind of depends on the calendar. We'll also go to a park and set up shop."

In the meantime, Smart Cookie products are also available in boutique pet stores and will also be at markets in Cherry Creek, Golden, Parker, Stapleton, Greenwood Village and City Park, Bradley says.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

The Urban Farm Co. introduces "The Garden Club"

The Urban Farm Co. has been helping Denverites and people along the Front Range  build gardens since 2011. Now the company is offering a new gardening program called The Garden Club to help people learn how to grow in Colorado.

"The idea is the more we can help people, the more they will tell their friends about what we're doing, whether or not they want to garden," says Urban Farm CEO Bryant Mason. "We're trying to reach out to people with a couple of simple gardening tips."

The company informally launched the new set of tools to its existing customers first, according to Mason. "We have about 150 people signed up already."

Those former customers are among the more than 400 people that Urban Farm has built gardens for since launching in 2011. Those gardens start at $350 for a four-foot square boxed garden, their proprietary soil mix, drip systems and other features. The company gets most of its organic plants and transplants from Gulley Greenhouse & Garden Center in Fort Collins, Mason adds.

The company has had a high rate of retention since launching, according to Mason. "Probably 40 percent to 50 percent come back to us to do planting or something like that," he says. "For the majority, the initial the purchase is the main thing, then 40 percent to 50 percent come back for year two. They might want a cold frame or something else for the garden."

Such businesses often expand their customer base on referrals, which Mason says has worked for his company. The resources offered by the new garden club, could help increase referral business. "The biggest intention is developing sort of a long-term resource for front range gardeners. It's a very indirect approach but the more value and valuable information we can put out the more likely people will find us via referrals."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Inversoft introduces Gather forum software

Inversoft recently launched its Gather forum software as an early access program (EAP), allowing users to get a taste of the software and give Inversoft feedback before it launches officially this summer.

Gather is designed as a modern community software solution that offers traditional bulletin boards and goes beyond that with question and answer tools, access through API framework and integration with Inversoft's CleanSpeak software.

The API is like those offered by Twitter and Facebook. "They can use it to match all of their contacts across their entire enterprise or they can use our shrink-wrapped solution, which looks like a traditional bulletin board system," says Inversoft CEO Brian Pontarelli. "But we have a lot of other cool features where you can make it look like Core or Stack Overflow, and you can do polls, and really define the front end and make it look however you want it to look," he explains.

"Old-school forum solutions like VBulletin and Lithium, they don't have a good moderation system," Pontarelli contends. He adds that the profanity filters used are generally just word blockers, while Gather's integrated CleanSpeak is what he calls a "language-aware system."

When it introduces the finalized version of the software Inversoft plans on making the software a subscription-type solution based factors on like total user volume or active monthly users. That's despite whether Inversoft is hosting the software in the cloud or if the companies using the package use it on their servers. While more companies than ever are using remote services, some of Inversoft's bigger clients like Disney want to use the software behind their firewalls, Pontarelli explains.

With the release of Gather, the company of eight employees is set for more growth. Pontarelli anticipates the company could hire up to three people now and up to another three people when Gather goes live. The positions will be in engineering and sales.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Utivity hosts the first Colorado Indie Business Forum at Green Spaces

On March 11, Utivity hosts the first Colorado Indie Business Forum at Denver's Green Spaces. The event is focused on helping startups grow into a successful business and will feature executive speakers from Love Grown Foods, Icelantic Skis and Utivity.

Utivity is a new startup that Founder Matthew Shifrin likens to Airbnb for professional services. "Our desktop and mobile platform are designed to provide users with the ability to search and filter on a wide array of criteria," Shifrin says.

Users will be ability to price, shop, read reviews and compare products and services via its portals. "For the business, freelancer or individual we give them a simple and intuitive tool that manages every aspect of their business, from store front, rich media, reviews, billing, credit card processing, customer interactions, legal, rewards, referrals and advertising at no upfront cost."

He says the platform connects people looking for services with those that can provide them. The site can connect individuals or professionals with all sorts of things, ranging from someone wanting private guitar lessons to individuals and small businesses providing the services they want. Shifrin formerly worked with the Jarden Corp. where, among other things, he introduced the Billy Boy condom brand to the U.S.

Shifrin will join Maddy D'Amato, CLO (chief love officer) of Love Grown Foods, and Annelise Loevlie, CEO of Icelantic Skis, to give roughly 10-min speeches. "Speakers will spend 10 minutes providing a little background on their companies, how they got started, and provide a couple of anecdotes on what worked and what didn't," he says. Attendees also will be able to ask the executives questions about their experiences in launching companies.

The event will also include beverages from Great Divide Brewing Co. and food from Amerigo. Shifrin anticipates that up to 175 people may attend the event, including several state representatives as well as members of Colorado's economic development team.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Street Fight returns to Denver for second Local Data Summit

Big data and hyperlocal might sound oxymoronic together but they encompass a powerful set of targeted marketing opportunities for companies across pretty much every industry these days. That's why it's the focus of the Local Data Summit that Street Fight is hosting at the EXDO Event Center on March 5.

The event is expected to draw nearly 200 attendees. It will feature speakers from leading national companies and subsidiaries that are harnessing the power of big data services to focus on consumer experience. Among the companies attending and presenting are Bing, MasterCard, Datalogix, Location3 Media, Esri, Factual, YP and First Data.

"This is the second Local Data Summit happening in Denver," says Lupe Hirt. "The Local Data Summit in Denver offers insights into what's happening today and how this ever-changing marketplace will impact businesses and influence marketers in the coming years." 

"Data is everywhere, but not every piece of data is useful. Our goal with Local Data Summit is to help businesses harness the most relevant information to improve how they communicate and interact with their consumers," says Laura Rich, CEO of Street Fight. "We are excited to bring the greatest minds in local marketing to Denver to share the latest trends, research and products."

Featured speakers at the event include Chris Dancy, "The Most Connected Human on Earth," who is constantly being monitored by a plethora of sensors, devices and applications; Amber Case, Director of Esri's R&D Lab, an entrepreneur and user experience designer who will discuss "calm technology."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver-made Bambool base layers fuse bamboo and wool

Outdoor sports enthusiasts know a great base layer can make or break a day in the outdoors. It can also make or break your day après adventure -- especially if your base layer reeks from all of your sweat. That's why a good base layer must conduct sweat, retain warmth, and hopefully not trap odors. Bambool is a startup manufacturing hybrid base layers in Denver designed to be more comfortable and last longer.

Craig and Jessica Wood, a husband and wife team in Vail, started Bambool in 2013. They successfully funded the company a Kickstarter campaign in fall of 2014 to launch their first products, a 3/4-length pant and a long-sleeve top, this year. They're already thinking about expanding with new pieces including developing pieces for the summer, according to spokesperson Amy Regnier.

The base layers are a patent-pending hybrid of merino wool and bamboo. "First and foremost they are sourced from renewable fibers," Regnier says. "It's important to us to have a sustainable product and bamboo is a self-sustaining, fast-growing plant."

"Bamboo is anti-bacterial. It helps keep you odor-free," Regnier explains. "Synthetics and cotton can be a little smelly."

It's true: Try wearing a cotton shirt for a week -- even after washing it, the odor may never come out. "Bamboo fabric in general also is extremely soft and your getting the warmth from the wool and the softness from the bamboo," Regnier says. "They are moisture wicking and keep you dryer than a wool blend."

The initial clothes target skiers and snowboarders. The 3/4-length pants were designed so that they won't add bulk under ski boots and socks. The zippers on the shirts have a zipper cage so they don't irritate the skin or pull on chest hair.

Bambool is a Vail-based company, but it partnered with Denver's SansUSA to manufacture their designs. SansUSA has already produced the first run of Bambool's base layers and also produces clothes for other Denver-based companies like Icelantic.

At this point the easiest place to find Bambool's clothes, which currently start at $79.99 is online via their website. They're also available through Garage Grown Gear, at the Amazon store and some other places, according to Regnier. At this point, they're only available in one brick-and-mortar store, the Vitality Center at Vail.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Famous Beard Oil Co. makes beards shine

Over the past few years, there's been a palpable explosion of facial hair across the world, going so far as to inspire the report, "Negative Frequency Dependent Variation in Male Facial Hair." That report, which appeared in the journal, Biology Letters, in April 2014, was produced by researcher at Australia's University of New South Wales. It looked at whether we've reached "peak beard" the moment when beards become less attractive because of their ubiquity in society.

Eric Lough, founder of Famous Beard Co., doesn't think that's happened. Recently he launched a line of boutique, handcrafted beard oils to help condition beards to make them easier to manage and look and feel healthier. The catalog includes eight scents as well as Silky Leg Oil for women.

"Beard oil has been around for many years, but many more men are adding this wonderful grooming tool to their daily use," Lough says. "I believe that the demand for beard oil is higher now than it was a few years ago. Beards have become very popular among the men of Denver as well as other cities."

"Famous Beard Oils are meant to hydrate and soften the beard, mustache or goatee by bringing back the natural oils that are depleted after washing the face," Lough says. The oils are primarily intended as a beard conditioner, he adds, but "they can be used for pre-shaves or aftershaves as well or just an all-around skin moisturizer. They also absorb into the skin quickly without feeling greasy. I've had male and female customers buy my beard oils for many uses, not just for facial hair."

The beard oil is currently available at LoHi's Sol Shine and online. "I've only been up and running for about four months and things are moving very quickly," Lough says. He's moving into the U.K. market and looking at a number of other retail accounts. Lough plans to table at farmer's markets in Denver starting with the Horseshoe Market on May 9.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

IndiCard launches app for service employee discounts

Bartenders, waiters, hairstylists and others in the service industry can sometimes get service industry discounts, but knowing which ones offer discounts to their fellow service workers can be difficult. IndiCard is working to make it easier.

The company, which launched with plastic cards showing service employees' eligibility, has now launched as an app for iOS and Android devices. The company launched the app after talking with users about how to make it easier to use the card, says IndiCard co-founder Braden Holt. "Now you don't have to worry about remembering a card when you're out."

The app also has other benefits. It can geolocate which businesses are nearby that offer service employee discounts, Holt says. With 120 companies in Denver and 160 in Chicago that participate, it can be hard to remember what's close by for good deal. In those two markets -- currently its only two -- the app already has 4,500 users, according to Holt.

Right now IndiCard is free for users employed in service industry positions and at partner locations. But Holt says a monthly membership fee is likely coming. He anticipates it will be a few dollars a month and will roll out by spring 2015.

To participate in the program people must be able to prove they work in the service industry -- particularly because the discounts can sometimes be high. This can be a pay stub from a company or a call to an employer or manager to prove the person does work there, Holt says.

People who work in food, drinks, gym, salon, health, retail and transportation are eligible to apply for the card.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Cabal opens innovative 3D art show

A charcoal-hued gun looms overhead, popping off the paper as its lower corners flutter on a slight breeze. It's surrounded by plethora of other 3D posters evoking R. Crumb, psychedelia and more menacing imagery on the walls of South Broadway's Cabal Enterprises.

The posters debuted Friday the 13th when Cabal unveiled Mutiny 3D featuring 36 artists from around the world. The unique and trippy show was curated by Denver-artist Adam Stone who solicited works from internationally renowned artists as far away as Japan, Lithuania and Bulgaria.

Stone took the mono-dimensional works of art from the artists and painstakingly rendered them into red-cyan three-dimensional artworks using a computer. "I actually cut each individual piece in the artwork out, move it then paint the depth onto each piece, then render it in red and cyan," he says. It's a painstaking process and one drawing could consist of as many as 5,000 layers of tiny clippings rearranged to create the three-dimensional effect by the time he finished it.

Of all the artists in the exhibition only one, David 2000, actually rendered his contributions in three dimensions. "He has a beautiful 3D book," Stone says.

A few of the other artists had worked in 3D before, according to Stone. They made it easier for him by providing images with layers so he didn't have to do that particular work. But he estimates that converting one of the most intricate drawings to 3D probably took him five to six days.

The show at the Cabal gallery at 1875 S. Broadway is worth a peek and will be up through the end of the month. Stone and Cabal are also publishing 100 copies of a limited-edition book with all of the drawings in it. The book comes with 3D glasses.

Stone's staying busy beyond the gallery. Two of the artists from France, Sam Rictus and Nils Bertho, are working with Stone and volunteers on a giant mural project at Buntport Theater called Chainmail. They'll kick off that event on Sat. Feb. 21.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

High There! Weed-friendly Tinder launches

Based on a Tinder-like interface, High There! is designed to connect marijuana enthusiasts with each other. The new app, which launched on both IOS and Android devices, was developed to help cannabis consumers share their experiences with marijuana.

It's proving popular. In a little more than a week, the app already had more than 10,000 downloads, and that number is growing by about 2,000 new users a day.

"Connecting with other cannabis consumers in the 23 states where it is legal is not as simple as it sounds," says Todd Mitchem, CEO of High There!

Mitchem, a former executive with O.penVAPE, contends that in many places people aren’t comfortable asking others if they smoke, eat or otherwise partake in using cannabis. "High There! allows people to meet, socialize, or even just share their stories and history with like-minded individuals who share a common interest in marijuana."

Users of the app add in information about how and why they use cannabis -- for instance, whether they vape or smoke it and if they use it for medicinal or other purposes. They can choose to chat with other users through the app or decide if they’d like to meet and hang out with fellow users.

"We want this to be a safe, fun and cool community," Mitchem says. "We did not design it to show off the weed you grow in your house, or the neat devices you use when consuming. We designed High There! as a tool to help all cannabis consumers in places where it is legal, make more thoughtful, meaningful and authentic connections with people like them."

The app can help people meet, whether to date, meet new friends to hang out with or share experiences about marijuana and usage. Just like Tinder and some other social apps, users can check out profiles of nearby users and decide whether or not to connect with fellow app users.  

"We want this to be a safe, fun, and cool community," Mitchem says. "We did not design it to show off the weed you grow in your house, or the neat devices you use when consuming. We designed High There! as a tool to help all cannabis consumers in places where it is legal, make more thoughtful, meaningful and authentic connections with people like them."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Black Project Spontaneous Ales debuts two wild ales

There are open fermentation beers, then there are wild beers, that's what Black Project Spontaneous Ales is into, letting its beers be inoculated purely by the wild yeasts and microbes that travel in the air, creating beers that are wholly unique in flavor. As of Feb. 15 from Former Future Brewing Company, the Black Project's wild beers are available in bottles for the first time.

"We expose our wort while still boiling, to the outside air to cool overnight on our roof," says James Howat, co-founder of Former Future and Black Project. "The next morning we put this wort into a barrel or other closed-top vessel and wait for fermentation to start." It can sometimes take four to 10 days for the very small amount of microbes from the air to multiply to a point where the wort is actually being fermented at an appreciable level, he adds, "so our beers are made via open, spontaneous inoculation but closed fermentation."

While these types of beer are produced in Belgium and the U.K. and have been for centuries, there aren't many breweries in the U.S. making them. "To my knowledge, we are the only brewery in Colorado to release a beer made using a coolship and completely spontaneous fermentation," Howat says. The coolship is the open vessel designed to allow the wort to cool and be inoculated by the air at a certain rate.

"Finding out what a small population of wild-caught microbes are going to do with a wort I design is truly my favorite part of brewing and is essentially why Black Project exists," Howat says. "Beers that we intend to eventually sell year-round we can blend and do a variety of things to make sure that the beers are always pretty similar, but even then there will be difference."

The company, a side project of Former Future, has already made a buzz. It debuted Flyby, its coolship spontaneous sour ale, at the Great American Beer Festival in October 2014 and won a bronze medal in the wild ale category. On Sun. Feb. 15, the young company is selling that as well as Jumpseat, a dry-hopped wild ale, at 2 p.m. at Former Future (1290 S. Broadway).

Only 48 750-milliliter bottles of Flyby are available at $35 a bottle, and 120 bottles of Jumpseat are available at $22 a bottle. "These beers are taking an average of 6 months to be ready," Howat says. "So we can't just make more right away just because the demand is so insane," he explains.

The nascent company, which started brewing in February 2014, is already preparing to expand. Howat says there will be as many as five releases between March and September, two with about 2,500 bottles and the others will be in the triple-digit range.

Given the experimental nature of coolship brewing -- 20 percent of the barrels could fail -- and the lengthy time it takes to brew the beer, Howat says he's thinking five years ahead to keep up with future demand.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

10.10.10 tackles healthcare issues -- entrepreneur-style

On Feb. 16 a new 10-day event called 10.10.10 launches. The event will take 10 former CEOs from around the country, introduce them to 10 problems in the U.S. healthcare industry and plant the seeds to create companies that will come up with solutions for the issues.

"These are significant problems with market opportunity," says 10.10.10 founder and Tom Higley, a Denver-based entrepreneurial guru and angel investor. "They're not big problems to us, they're wicked problems."

While the committee is selecting the CEOs for the program, anyone can submit their ideas for the 10 healthcare problems. It's as simple as clicking here and filling out the simple form.

"On the very first day, we have 10 problem advocates each of whom pitches a wicked problem," Higley explains. "They show where it hurts, who hurts and how badly it hurts as well as the size and scope of the problem." The advocates will also tell the prospective CEOs about what resources are available to solve the problem. This could be fiscal incentives, access to talent or intellectual property.

Higley says the program is designed to help CEOs reinvent themselves. "CEOs who founded companies will often set out to do something that doesn't seem well informed," he says. "These CEOs have to deal with an existential crisis. They have to switch and change. They have to reinvent themselves. The program is designed to facilitate that."

To help them move forward the program also offers what Higley calls "validators," companies or nonprofits involved in the program and the issues, that are working to solve health care problems. Some of the validators include the Colorado Health Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, for example.

The 10.10.10 program has largely come about through volunteer effort, Higley adds. "There are 100 plus volunteers that have helped put this together," he says. "These folks have worked incredible hours. It's been a big deal."

Though this is the inaugural program Higley anticipates holding more of the programs in the near future. He's already looking forward to hosting 10.10.10 events in San Francisco and Boston.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.
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